The Knicks lost their 17th game in a row, an in-season franchise record (they once lost 20 straight between seasons), an agonizing fake-comeback nearly made real. I remembered what it is to have hope. I remembered what it means to have love and to have lost.
Cleveland got off to an 8-0 jump, forcing David Fizdale to call time 87 seconds in. Kevin Love was back.
There was some defense played. Your Dennis Smith Jr. defensive highlight of the night:
Great defensive possession by Smith Jr, tracking his man off the ball, then getting the block pic.twitter.com/RuuEjnVImi— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) February 12, 2019
Kevin Knox was the offense in the early going.
Still, Cleveland led throughout, and as has been customary all season the Knicks gave up a basket at the first-quarter buzzer.
Mitchell Robinson checked in and was doing it on both ends: rebounding, putbacking, shot-blocking, shot-altering. Sooo good of late. You get the sense if Robinson were on an airport runway and leapt as a plane took off, it’d make an emergency landing.
Mitch doing Mitch things pic.twitter.com/JRHXIZ90Pa— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) February 12, 2019
Soon thereafter: Mjolinir.
I’d def crowdfund a Hezonja/DeAndre Jordan romcom. Between this dunk and the Giannis stepover, Hezonja may have the two most exciting plays of the year (non-Ntilikina-over-Gobert division).
You could see from the start (and if you couldn’t, MSG made sure to repeat it ad nauseam) how invested the Knicks were in this game.
Watch the Knicks bench— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) February 12, 2019
They want this game tonight pic.twitter.com/7YnyXNuEyJ
But wherever there is light darkness must follow, which tonight took the form of Matthew Dellavedova hitting two floaters over Robinson, proof Aussiestopholes truly is protected from up on high by the Prince of Darkness. Tonight, like the last time the Knicks played in Cleveland, the crowd gave Dellavedova an M-V-P chant. It was mildly bemusing back then. Tonight it affirmed why you can blame ownership, coaching and players for a franchise sucking, but sometimes the fanbase doesn’t deserve better.
Rebecca Haarlow opened the broadcast spinning the company line about how despite all the losses the team has stuck together. Later Mike Breen admitted Fizdale has to paint things as a positive, but then Breen went all-in on the positivity pointing out he and Clyde Frazier were right next to the bench and could attest to the kumbaya. Sorry not sorry, Breenie: nobody who’s watched this network this century has any reason to view it as anything more than a slickly-packaged shill.
If Kevin Love were a QB, DSJ would be the cornerback haunting his nightmares. Multiple open-floor interceptions.
The Cavs were up 15 at the half and pushed it to 17 in the third. Sauce Castillo got into the cooking.
Knox threw up a few airballs, but kept his head up and helped cut it to 5.
Kadeem Allen continued his strong play, with yet another season-high in scoring.
Welcome to the Knicks, John Jenkins.
Sadly, a late 8-0 run pushed it back to double-digits, with Larry Nance Jr. morphing into 1993 Charles Barkley. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes 40ish will do.
.@Larrydn22 has extended his career-best streak to 6 consecutive double-doubles with 11 PTS and 12 REB late in the 3rd Q of #CavsKnicks. Nance has also now knocked down at least 1 three-pointer in a career-best 4 straight games for the @cavs. #BeTheFight— Cavs Official Notes (@CavsNotes) February 12, 2019
The fourth saw the heretofore undreamt lineup of Robinson, Luke Kornet, Jenkins, Allonzo Trier and Allen. Eat a dick, probability!
Jenkins kept Jenking.
John Jenkins is 3-3 pic.twitter.com/spCNpuuGw3— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) February 12, 2019
Then Jenkins found Robinson for an alley-oop to pull New York within four.
Jenkins learning quick to just throw the ball near the rim for Big Meech pic.twitter.com/EtLwPtqkz7— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) February 12, 2019
That was the running theme of the fourth. No matter how much the Knicks fought
Strong finish by DSJ pic.twitter.com/JamR79CpVM— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) February 12, 2019
— and they kept fighting —
they never could get it down to a one-possession game. There was one last chance, late, but a Knox drive to the hoop ended up resembling the birth of a giraffe, and that was that.
Or was it?
NARRATOR: It wasn’t.
Kornet would miss a wiiiide-open three, and after Collin Sexton hit a pair of free throws, the final possession saw Luke, Jenkins and DSJ all miss shots to tie it. Ya can’t spell “close” without an L.
I’m off to ponder whether the Professor should change careers. Shwin’s got your recap.